Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy mom's birthday to you

(Fair warning: there's a noticeable increase in my use of swear words in this post. I'm no Wolf of Wall Street, but you've been warned.)

This morning began with a phone call home: "Happy Mom's birthday," I told my dad, and a few hours later I texted my brother the same thing. It's a weird thing to celebrate--but let's be honest, no weirder than celebrating my mom's life and her awesomeness two and a half years ago at her funeral.

I tried to write last night, but my brain just couldn't process it. Perhaps it was the after effects of the vodka on the rocks I had the night before (because of course, my mom's signature drink couldn't be margaritas, but no, straight vodka on the rocks), but it just wasn't happening. Instead, I spent most of my night flipping through photos of my family--many of which included my mom. I re-read things I wrote two and a half years ago, and I kind of felt pretty awful.

I give myself 1% of the year to feel shitty. I figure 3.65 days of the year I'm allowed to have all out crappy days. 2 of them are the same each year: October 3rd, the day my mom died, and April 21st (or thereabout depending on when it actually makes sense for me to celebrate her birthday. Vodka is not a Monday night type of drink for me).

Last night it was a 1% day. As I looked through photos of my mom, I was reminded of just how amazing she was. She was selfless. She was caring. She was compassionate. She didn't give a shit what people thought, she knew what she wanted in life, and she went after it. She was always up for a challenge, and she was always on the go. She lived life the way I think most people strive to, and she was pretty damn awesome.

This should make me feel great, right? The fact that my mom was such a wonderful woman, and it does.

...but it also makes that loss all the more difficult. I didn't lose an okay mom. I didn't lose a mom who maybe cared about me or who sometimes told me she loved me or who believed in me 75% of the time.

I lost a mom who cared more about her family than I can really even process.
I lost a mom who told me on a daily basis she loved me.
I lost a mom who believed in me without wavering or doubt.

So there I sat, sad girl in pajamas, eating sushi on the couch, flipping through photos, thinking, "Man. This hurts."

I very much so believe in my ability to will things to happen, to make a choice in life and to see that it happens, but the reality is, I can't will my mom to be alive and healthy. I actually don't have a say here. I don't get to call my mom on a daily basis to ask her advice, and I'm going to have to keep deleting all of those damn emails that are filling my inbox about "gifts for mom" as Mother's Day approaches. All those questions I want to ask my mom just aren't going to get answered right now.

*sad violin plays*

...okay so yes, yesterday I tried to close my eyes really tight and see if I remembered my mom's voice. I don't. I tried to think about the last memory I have of her when she was 100% healthy, and I found myself thinking back to the end of eighth grade. We're talking 14 years now. It's hard, and it gets scarier the less I remember of her. I get nervous at times I'll forget her.

However, then, my better judgment kicks in. I read her eulogy and what I said at her memorial mass.

...and I find myself constantly arriving at the same conclusion:
Yes, losing my mom was easily one of the most painful things I've ever gone through. And yes, it still hurts.

But oh my goodness,
how fucking lucky were we all to know her?

I would almost argue that the real people who are unlucky here are those who didn't know her. I feel a little envious of those who knew her better than I did.

...but I also feel so unbelievably blessed to have had such a wonderful mom for the time that I did. It almost feels greedy to say that I should have had more time with her, because I got to know her for longer than many other people did, and the impact she had on my life is immeasurable.

I got to reap the benefits of having such a bad-ass mom. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure my mom cringes over some of the choices I make (Mom, it's cool, I do too), but overall, if I dare say so myself, I think my parents raised some pretty awesome kids.

And so I find myself going back and forth between two very different sets of emotions:
1. Feeling sad (and well, feeling sorry for myself), because really? Mom, really, you had to leave me so soon?
2. Feeling a kick in the ass from my mom reminding me: Life is tough; suck it up, because at the end of the day, I'm very lucky.

I probably sound terribly arrogant saying this, but, on a daily basis, my life is fucking fabulous. I'm actually not quite sure why I've been given such a phenomenal life with such amazing people with whom to share it, but I have. ...and each day that I got to spend with my mom (when I was smart enough to listen to her and not being a punky child) has contributed to the awesomeness of my life. Each day that I wake up and do something that would make her proud, well, it continues to contribute to how wonderful my life is., really, if I were to re-write this post, I'd probably write about how lucky I am and how much you should be jealous of me, because I had the privilege of having such a wonderful mom, and though I may not get to see her on a daily basis or talk to her at all, I get to go through life with her in my heart, which, hey, really isn't too shabby.

Happy mom's birthday to you; may you be as lucky to know someone as amazing as she was at some point in your life.


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